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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Country Side of Me

Roy Clark Life Time Influence

I was raise on a farm from age 12 to 17 so I had exposure to my share of Country.  Everyone in my age group has had exposure to Country Music if for no other reason simply because some of us were here before Rock and Roll.  I still remember that some of our Physical Education (PE) Classes (throughout Junior High School) included dance classes and I enjoyed the square dancing and line dancing.  It was always fun when the girl’s PE Class and their good looking PE instructor Joined us for co-ed class.  The instructors finally got smart and had us enter the gym in a line that met in the middle and we were paired off randomly (the boys use to be real obvious about avoiding certain girls they didn’t like, and would scramble out of line to avoid a matchup they didn’t approved of.  Feelings would get hurt, and the instructors strictly enforced the random match-ups.  I played the good guy more than once and asked a girl out to dance that the other guys were avoiding.  The random gentlemanly actions earned me kudos, and good grades from the both PE instructors.

Country/Folk and Bluegrass; are the origins of rural acoustic music forms that influenced the development of rock music. Featured artists include Woody Guthrie, Peter Seeger, Lead Belly, Josh White, Hank Williams, Bob Willis, and Bill Monroe.  You can’t discount, or ignore the early contributions of Blues, R&B, and Gospel.  When I first experienced country it wasn’t anything like todays Country Music with its Pop crossover style.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a song is Country are pop in today’s music scene.  The dead giveaway is usually the name of the artist and where their recent recordings are rooted.

My early influences were Hank Williams, Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Jim Reeves, and Marty Robbins to name but a few.  Matter of fact the first acoustic guitar I ever bought was at Western Auto because of the influence of Marty Robbins (my favorite song at the time amongst many of his songs was; A White Sports Coat and A Pink Carnation).  Fortunately for me, my wife and I enjoy similar taste in music and her all-time favorite country artist is Patsy Cline (walking after Midnight and Sweet Dreams among my wife’s favorites).  I need to mention one other favorite song from the old school country and that would be, Yesterday When I Was Young, by Roy Clark.  If you pay attention to the lyrics, I think that you will find that many people everywhere live their lives in that life style, and few recognize the error of their ways in time to turn it around.  For many years now I have kept that song fresh on my mind to remind me of the dos and don’ts of a fruitful life.

I’ve always been good at finding the center of things that I am involved in.  In reference to country music looking at the artists that I mention, most of them were considered the influence of Outlaw Country, yet today, I can enjoy Tim McGraw, Reba, McBride, Garth Brooks, Underwood, and all the fine recording artists of present time.  Another badge of honor is that I grew up watching The Grand Ole Opry, and of course Hee Haw with Roy Clark.  When you get around to peeling back the onion’s layers you find that when it comes to music I am pretty much a well-rounded aficionado. The best is yet to come…

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